The weariness of the past year and a half has weighed on all of us. Cancellation of elective procedures, PPE shortages, and waiting for COVID vaccines are all challenges that we have endured. Now, as social activities have started up in Washington State, we are warned of (or experiencing!) increasing case numbers from the Delta variant. It seems like this pandemic will never end….
Just like the obstacles that radiologists in Washington are constantly facing. Your WSRS is hard at work learning about these issues, and helping you meet the problems head-on. Did you know that Olympia has instituted a new “tax” on your wages? This begins in the new year (January 1, 2022), with the collections being used to fund a new Long-Term Care Trust, to ensure that there is funding for long-term care for Washingtonians in the future. There is NO cap on the amount being collected each year. If you have your own long-term care policy, you can apply for an exemption from the tax but you need to act well before the end of the year. Find out more details below.
Although the ACR Annual Meeting could not be held in person this year, you can access the Reference Committees’ final reports online. Several of your WSRS Board members were still able to meet with our congressional delegation over Zoom. We met with the staff of Sens. Murray and Cantwell, as well as our representatives, and even briefly chatted with Reps. Schrier and Newhouse. We talked about bills supporting the mental health of health care workers and finding a long-term solution for the reimbursement cuts to radiologists from changes in the E/M (Evaluation & Management) codes.
Our Residents and Fellows Section (RFS) has also been active in setting up a mentorship program for trainees. Drs. Mariam Shehata and Shamus Moran have been recruiting members to become mentors and matching them to residents with similar interests. If you would like to help guide radiologists-in-training (no formal training needed, just life experience!), please contact Dr. Moran for more information.
And Dr. Rachel Gerson was instrumental in coordinating another successful Women in Radiology Mentoring Event this spring. Of our 639 dues-paying WSRS members, only 26.3% are women. Even amongst our state’s members-in-training, only 36.7% are female. When 47.9% of US medical school graduates in 2018-19 are women (from AAMC website), there is a clear disparity for our specialty. More needs to be done to attract women to radiology, to ensure the strength in our field. Many thanks to Dr. Gerson for all of her efforts to make sure that women feel welcome.
As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions. I hope you take the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors this summer. I look forward to seeing you at our annual meeting this November!
Sammy Chu, MD, FRCPC, FACR